“Babe, are you going nuts? Slow down!” I yelled at my friend as she picked up even more speed. I gripped the dash board tightly and closed my eyes. I decided to calm down, so I did some breathing exercises. Just as I was beginning to calm, I felt Marina slow down considerably.
I opened my eyes and saw that we were in thick traffic. I leaned into the car seat and braced my chin with my palm. From the side of my eyes, I could spy Marina casting glances at me as if waiting for me to say something or attack her.
“Crystal, it is 9:00pm, my husband needs his dinner and judging by this traffic, it may take us another two hours to get home”, she finally blurted.
I looked at her, unsure how to feel or what to say. I wanted to attack her but I held myself in check. She kept looking at me; it seemed she really wanted me to talk it out with her. I thought for a moment on how best to approach the issue without attacking her; I decided to ask logical questions.
“Do you have soups and sauces in your freezer?”
“Yes, I do”, she answered with a sudden look of discomfort settling on her face. It was as if she could tell what point I was going to make.
“Do you have rice and pasta in your house?” I probed further.
“Yes, I do”, her voice seemed to have grown somewhat smaller.
“How about you call your husband and explain that you are stuck in traffic and aren’t likely to be home in time. Give him directions to where the rice or pasta is, so he can boil some for himself. Describe the sauce boil in the freezer to him so he can pop it in the microwave… viola! Dinner is served and he doesn’t have to wait till late to eat”.
She looked at me with a straight face and in that moment, I knew I would regret indulging her.
“My dear, men are babies. He won’t be able to do it, you won’t understand”.
In that instant, a torrent of emotions washed over me. I felt angry, confused, insulted and flabbergasted all at once. I had met Marina’s husband a few times when I visited their home. He was as sharp as they came and he certainly was somewhat domesticated. He was an easy-going guy too, I couldn’t quite understand Marina’s stance.
“I won’t understand?!” It began to feel more like an insult. “Marina, I know I am the one in your car but thunder fire you there. I won’t understand because I am not intelligent enough to comprehend what you mean or because I am not yet married?”
The absurdity of what my friend was saying to me was a little too much for me to process, especially when you consider the pedigree of education and exposure she has been privileged to experience. She kept her eyes on the road, even though we were at a standstill, refusing to lock at me.
“Okay, how did he feed as a bachelor? Are you telling me that your hubby has suddenly forgotten how to boil spaghetti after just two months of marriage?”
“Look, I have been told men can’t do much for themselves, Crystal. They are…”
“I swear, if you say ‘babies’…” I said in an almost-shriek. “Let’s just leave it”, I finally said my chest heaving.
I felt like someone had smacked me upside down in the head. I glanced at Marina again. I couldn’t believe this supposedly enlightened friend of mine was insisting her grown man could not boil spaghetti and warm sauce in a microwave. If only she would call him and tell him what to do, that guy could have a meal in the space of 25 minutes instead of waiting for his wife to arrive in 2hours. Then she will still probably spend 25 minutes making the same meal.
My mind flashed to the countless times my brother made delicious chicken stews when our mum wasn’t around. He could make most Nigerian meal, including pounded yam. I tried to picture a situation where my brother would have to wait for his wife in traffic to come home first before he eats, and I couldn’t.
It occurred to me that a lot of women don’t understand the implication of believing their husbands are babies and treating them thus. If there is one thing I have learnt from the numerous marriages I have observed around me over the years, it is that you don’t encourage a culture you won’t be able to maintain through all the years of your marriage.